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Philippines Community Hall Of Fame

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Arcie Malari, Manila, Philippines. Winning Samaritan: He is the founder of Silid Aralan – a not for profit organization that provides education to under privileged youth. Arcie, at a very young age, opted out of a comfortable middle class life in the Philippines and went to live among the scavengers who live off the refuse at the infamous Smokey Mountain dump site in Manila. He discovered that it was not for lack of intelligence that these people were struggling; it was for lack of opportunity and belief in themselves and their abilities. He set out to change that and since then has launched a successful program that not only supplements the education but empowers its students to see past where they are to a place where they know no limits. By Niki Leach

Argel Domingo, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines. Winner Against the Odds: Born with hydrocephalus, she has been trying to live normally ever since with her family’s help. She’s currently 20 years old. By Anna Salvina Fontanilla

Conspiracy Garden, Manila, Philippines. Winning Restaurant: I know a place named Conspiracy Garden near where I live. It is not an ordinary bar with famous singers performing in it. What makes it different from other restaurants is the crowd that it caters to. It is a place where poets, along with other artists (not all celebrities) hang out. They have poetry readings there. The crowd is really different. The people who go there are like a family because they all have the same passion. By Kay Carnivel

Epifania Barbolino, Quezon City, Philippines, Winning Worker: She is a street sweeper for more than 30 years now. She’s not working in an air conditioned room with a nice chair and table. She stays under the sun for nine hours. She manages the dirt and the dusts in the streets. She was able to help her husband send their four daughters to schools because of her job. She’s now 60 years old. Even if her skin is wrinkled and darkened, and her face looks pale because of the nature of her occupation, she doesn’t Though being a street sweeper is not a glamorous and comfortable career like some others, it’s alright with her. She says she has mastered the art of cleaning and she’s proud at it. The people in the streets have been her friends and cleaning their mess is her pride and joy. Her broom is her weapon. A winner for me does not have to be rich or famous. It can be someone who inspires others and creates a noble impression in whatever she does whoever he/she is and wherever he/she comes from. By Aileen Rama

Noel Alamar, Manila, Philippines. Winning Entertainer: I would like to nominate Mr. Noel Alamar as a subject of a story. He is a current radio reporter at DZMM (one of the prestigious radio stations in the Philippines). He was a former soldier of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. I think he is a winner because he fights for what he believes in. He was also a member of a band. I met him during my internship at The Philippine Star last year. He is a known reporter and, yet, he remains very humble. By Kay Carnivel

Richelle Verdeprado, Bacolod City, Philippines. Winner Against the Odds/Good Samaritan: Born in a farm in Himamaylan with little or no chances of stepping on the streets of the urban zones of the Philippines, Richelle Verdeprado proved no less. As a child she had her own way of battling poverty’s clutches by helping her mother in selling bananas and vegetables alike. Focused into helping her family, she performed best in school making her the top student in her elementary and valedictorian in her high school. Presently, with the help of the Capuchin Sisters in the Holy Family Home Cabug, Bacolod City, she is a Social Work student with ample recognitions for her selfless advocacies not only to the school, but to the entire Philippines through. She even founded the Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality, Bacolod Chapter, and is a member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women- Asia Pacific. By Luigi Roguero V. Caler

Rosa Rosal, Manila, Phillipines. Winning Benefactor: Rosa is a volunteer of the Philippine National Red Cross since 1950, who is known for her tireless effort in seeking blood donations to build the PNRC blood bank’s stock. She is also an actress and host of public service TV programs that help indigent Filipinos. Rosal also has a college scholarship fund for poor, but deserving Filipino students. By Vittorio Hernandez 

Tony Meloto, Mandaluyong City, Phillipines. Winning Samaritan: He established Gawad Kalinga, which is the Philippine version of Habitat for Humanity. Meloto concentrated on building houses with the poor-beneficiaries as partners because he witnessed poverty at a nearby shoreline squatter community when he was growing up in the province of Negros Occidental. Gawad Kalinga is now being implemented in about 2,000 communities in the Philippines and other developing nations. By Vittorio Hernandez